REDUCED PROFIT

Rift farmers should replant due to delayed rains

Maize farmers in some pockets of Rift Valley must buy more seeds, increasing input costs and reducing profits cDelayed rains experienced in some pockets of Rift Valley region

In Summary

• Farmers in parts of Rift Valley will have to dig deeper into their pockets to buy maize seeds for replanting.

• This is due delayed rains resulting in low germination of seeds planted between February and March in anticipation of the long rains

Farmers planting maize at a farm in Kapsara,Trans Nzoia county, on March 3, 2020. A
REPLANT NOW: Farmers planting maize at a farm in Kapsara,Trans Nzoia county, on March 3, 2020. A
Image: FILE:

Farmers in parts of Rift Valley will have to dig deeper into their pockets and buy maize seeds for replanting.

The added input is due to the delayed long rains, leading to low germination of seeds planted between February and March in anticipation of the rainy season.

Director Kipkorir Menjo, of the Kenya Farmers Association said only small pockets in the region have been affected as the rain pattern has not been uniform.

“The delayed rains is only being experienced in some pockets. If we get rains before the month ends, the crop will recover and farmers many not have to replant,” he told the Star on Friday.

Timothy Njagi, a senior researcher at Tegemeo Institute, said farmers may be forced to incur additional cost in order to replant.

“Predica;ltions from the Kenya Meteorological department still show that there will be some rains within the stipulated March-April-May long rain season. So in order to get maximum returns, farmers will need to replant,” said Njagi.

He however said that due to the delayed rains, harvesting of the long rains crop may coincide with the short rains season.

“The short rains season that starts in October till December may interfere with drying of the crop so farmers need to be cautious,” he said.

According to MET’s weather outlook for April, this is the peak month of the long rains season and several parts of the country are likely to experience near to above average rainfall.

The outlook indicated that the Northeastern parts of the country are, however, likely to receive depressed rainfall.

“The distribution is likely to be poor both in time and space over northeast especially towards the end of the month. Some days may be characterized by heavy storms especially over the South-eastern Lowlands, the Highlands East of the Rift Valley including Nairobi County, the Northwest and the Highlands West of the Rift Valley,” the weather outlook showed.

Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia Counties will receive rainfall throughout the month of April 2021. The rainfall amounts are expected to be near to above the long-term average.

Met said the farming communities in these areas should take advantage of the expected rains and maximize crop yield through appropriate land use management.

“Farmers are advised to liaise with the State Department of Agriculture for advice on the appropriate seeds to be used,” the weatherman said.